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Siren Song

Siren Song


by Margaret Atwood

Stanza 1 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 1-3

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

  • Sounds good, right? Who wouldn't want to learn such an irresistible song? From the very beginning (spoiler alert!), we're being seduced into learning more about this song and why it's so irresistible. 
  • Notice the speaker is generalizing us with "everyone" in the first stanza. In her eyes, we're no different than the rest of them.
  • We're all dying to learn this song, no pun intended.
  • The enjambment between lines helps to keep the Siren's poem sounding fresh and modern and less like the kind of epic poetry we usually see them in. So immediately we sense that this classical myth isn't your average Siren story with a set meter. (Check out "Form and Meter" for more on the technical deets.)
  • By using informal diction and idioms like, "this is the one" and "everyone would like to learn," we're also getting a feel for the more modern speaker we have here. Her voice is casual, familiar, and up-to-date. (Check out our "Speaker" section for more.) 
  • Notice, too, that all of the colons we see (lines 2-3) help to maintain the poem's mood of anticipation and suspense. We're waiting to hear the song and learn more about it, but so far we're just hearing how great and irresistible it is, which makes us even more intrigued.

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